Debate on Islam: Imam Tawhidi versus Mufassil Islam

Gad Saad moderates a lively debate between reformist Muslim Imam Tawhidi and ex-Muslim Mufassil Islam:

Imam Tawhidi’s Twitter handle: @Imamofpeace

Mufassil Islam – @mufassili

Fantasy Islam (Kafir Edition): Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

1280px-quran_tunisia-1024x768Fantasy Islam (Kafir Edition): A game in which an audience of non-Muslims wish with all their hearts that Islam was a “Religion of Peace,” and a Kafir (non-Muslim) strives to fulfill that wish by presenting a version of Islam that has little foundation in Islamic Doctrine.

Frontpage, by Dr. Stephen M. Kirby, March 4, 2016:

In 2015 the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota produced a 61 page booklet titled My Neighbor is Muslim, Exploring the Muslim Faith.  The purpose of the booklet was to enable Lutherans to learn about Islam in order to better understand their “new neighbors” who were arriving as refugees.

On p. 3 of the booklet we find an endorsement by, and a picture of, Imam Hassan Ali Mohamud, the founder, Imam, and Director of the Minnesota Da’wah Institute.  A brief biography of Mohamud can be found at the Institute’s site.  But there are a few additional items in Mohamud’s background that are of particular interest and make him a curious choice as the endorser of a book welcoming Muslims into non-Muslim communities.

Hassan Ali Mohamud praised Hamas

The United States government declared Hamas a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997.  On March 22, 2004, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (Yaasin), the founder of Hamas, was killed in an Israeli airstrike.  On March 26, 2004, Mohamud wrote an article in Somalitalk – Minneapolis expressing his condolences for Yassin’s death.  The article was titled Hambalyo Shahiid Sh. Ahmed Yaasin, (Congratulations to Sheikh Ahmed Yaasin, the Shahiid). Shahiid is the term used for those who achieve martyrdom by being killed in the cause of Allah.

Mohamud noted that Yassin had founded Hamas and referred to the Hamas mujahidin (mujaahidiinta), who were fighting for the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and of Palestine (mujahidin are those fighting in the Cause of Allah).  Mohamud hoped that Allah would consider Yassin a martyr, and he referred to Yassin as the Sheikh of the Mujahidin (Sheikhul

Mujaahidiin).  Mohamud referred to the Israelis as terrorists.

This article had the following byline: “Sh. Xasan Jaamici, xasanjaamici@yahoo.com, Minneapolis, MN, USA.”  How do we know this is our Hassan Ali Mohamud?  An internet search of this name and e-mail address will show the connection to Mohamud (e.g., here, here, here and here (both of which also include a telephone number), here, and here.  The aforementioned telephone number is also connected to Mohamud (e.g., here, here, here(on the page titled Expert Resources Available To Media), and here (on p. 15 of the slide presentation).

Muslim cab drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

For a number of years some Muslim cab drivers had refused to pick up passengers at the airport if those passengers were carrying sealed bottles of wine and/or liquor, even if those bottles were in the passenger’s luggage.  Controversy grew, and on June 6, 2006 the Muslim American Society of Minnesota (MAS) stepped in and issued a religious ruling (fatwa) stating that it violated Islamic law for the cab drivers to be involved in the transportation of alcohol.  Hassan Ali Mohamud was one of the four members of the committee that issued thisfatwa.

A few weeks later, when interviewed by NPR, Mohamud stated:

Islamic identity is important because it is like keeping the faith. For that reason, Muslims here believe – Somalis are the majority of the Muslims in Minnesota- they believe it’s important to have, like, our own village, what you can call like Muslim village.

And what would this Muslim-majority “village” in the United States be like?  Here is an excerpt from an articlepublished later that year; this excerpt starts off with comments from Omar Jamal, a Muslim cab driver, and ends with comments from Mohamud:

Jamal..says MAS is an organization of Middle Eastern Muslims attempting to fold Minnesota’s large population of Somali Muslims into its divisive political campaign…“They’ve been driving the taxis for the last 20 years. How come it became an issue now all of a sudden? Were all the Muslims born again?”

MAS leader Mohamud, who is Somali, contends that just such a revival occurred, that nominal Muslims began practicing their faith. He says that as more Muslims do the same, similar issues will continue to spring up throughout the country. Asked if he believes local governments should enforce Shariah law in communities dominated by Muslim immigrants, Mohamud replied, “I believe in American democracy, which is majority rules.”

So according to Mohamud, as more Muslims return to their faith there will be more conflicts springing up between Shariah Law and American law.  And if localities have a Muslim majority, then he believes that Shariah Law should be enforced, even in the United States.

This approach by Mohamud should not be surprising, because of what he wrote for his law school student newspaper in 2000; the article was titled Law in the Islamic Perspective:

Law, both as jurisprudence and as a normative system is an articulation and an expression of God’s will. As a consequence, within the Islamic outlook, it is difficult to conceive of a secular state or a secular legal system.

If one cannot conceive of a “secular legal system” then it is only natural to come to the defense of Muslim cab drivers who are trying to impose Allah’s law on non-Muslims.

Omar Jamal would later state:

“They have a political agenda, and they want to hijack the faith of Islam,” he said of MAS leaders. “They’re looking for an issue to get Muslims to rally behind to drive a wedge in the community between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Somali youth leaving Minneapolis to fight with al-Shabab

For many years there has been concern within the Somali community in Minneapolis, and among federal government officials, about Somali youth going overseas to fight for the jihadist terror group al-Shabab.  In late 2008 and early 2009 there were two articles that mentioned Muhamud and his mosque.

On December 19, 2008 USA Today had an article that included an interview with a former jihadist living in Minneapolis.  Below he describes how jihadists recruit new members at one particular mosque, and he stated that similar activities were occurring at Mohamud’s mosque, the Minnesota Da’wah Institute:

Yusuf Shaba…says he decided to speak out about what he considers Islamic indoctrination at Minneapolis mosques because he doesn’t want his sons to follow the same path he did.

Shaba, 34, joined Al Ittihad Al-Islami (Islamic Union) at age 16 and was wounded at age 19 in Somalia.  Al Ittihad was Somalia’s largest Islamic terrorist group in the 1990s…

Shaba says he and his three teenage sons attended a program two months ago at Abubaker As-Saddique Islamic Center, where a former Somali warrior sat in a circle with other young people and delivered a passionate recitation of his experiences during the Somali civil war.

Some mosques also screen videos about the war in Afghanistan and about Muslim victims of perceived injustices… “They give them all the grievances that Osama Bin Laden has,” Shaba says. “They talk about nothing but jihad and it’s the best thing that can happen to a Muslim.”…

Shaba says similar activities occur at Minnesota Da’wah Institute in St. Paul, another mosque.  Sheik Mahamud Hassan [sic], the institute’s imam, says nothing like that is happening as his mosque. “It’s liars,” he says. “I’m not missing any members.”

In February 2009 NPR did a similar report.  The report noted this about the missing youth:

All of them were reared by single mothers, and all of them were particularly devout Muslims.  They all prayed and signed up for youth programs at two local mosques…

Mohamud was the imam of one of those two mosques.  And it was in Mohamud’s mosque where the parents said their missing boys spent a lot of time, and even spent the night.  In reply to the NPR interviewer, Mohamud stated, “We are not missing any single student who is connected to the mosque and the Dawah Islamic center.”  The interviewer pointed out that when Mohamud and his mosque’s youth director were being interviewed, they were both “defensive.”

Mohamud was refused clearance for an airport tour

In January 2016 Mohamud and other community leaders were invited to tour the Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport and review its operations and screening procedures.  Each had to be cleared in advance to access the secure areas of the airport.  But a few hours before the tour started on February 18th, Mohamud was notified that he had not been cleared to access the secure areas.  Government officials would not discuss the matter.

Conclusion

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota created a booklet seeking to educate non-Muslims about Islam and encouraging them to have a welcoming attitude toward Muslim refugees coming into their neighborhoods.  Ironically, the Muslim imam selected to endorse this booklet appears to be a Hamas supporter, believes that Shariah Law should be enforced in American communities where Muslims are the majority, heads one of two mosques that have been the focus of articles about Somali youth leaving Minneapolis to fight for a terrorist organization, and was recently refused a government security clearance.  Welcome to the neighborhood!

Part 2 will look at how Islam is presented in this booklet.

Dr. Stephen M. Kirby is the author of three books about Islam.  His latest book is Islam According to Muhammad, Not Your Neighbor.

An Islam of Their Very Own

image-see-no-evil-triangleNational Review, by Andrew McCarthy, Dec. 4, 2015:

The day after the San Bernardino jihadist attack that left fourteen dead and even more wounded, my old boss, Rudy Giuliani, came out and said what most sane people are thinking. After hours of pained, halting, incoherent babbling by public officials from President Obama on down about whether the mass-killing by two heavily armed, obviously well-trained Muslims constituted a terrorist attack, Rudy exploded:

You can come to one clear conclusion with the information they have right now. This is an act of terror. The question was motivation. . . . The question here is not, is it an act of terror. We’re beyond that. When you got two assault weapons, two handguns, you’re in body armor, you got a home that’s booby-trapped. You’ve [ACM: meaning “they’ve”] been practicing to do this. . . . If you can’t come to a conclusion at this point that this was an act of terror, you should find something else to do for a living besides law enforcement. I mean, you’re a moron.

Hard to argue with that.

But look, if you actually speak with the police and federal agents conducting the investigation into the attack, you figure out pretty quickly that they are not morons. They are actually very good at what they do. So why is it that, upon seeing two-plus-two, they can’t call it four when Islam is involved?

I’ve been trying to explain this for many years, beginning in Willful Blindness, a memoir about prosecuting terrorists in the Clinton era, and in a stack of columns here at National Review, including one from a few years back that described how our government, under administrations of both parties and the bipartisan Beltway ruling class, has constructed “an Islam of their very own.”

Rudy is right that what they’ve done is moronic, but there is a logic to it. It goes like this.

The government denies that terrorism is caused by Islamic doctrine. This is a triumph of willful blindness and political correctness best illustrated by former British home secretary Jacqui Smith, who might as well have been speaking for our government when she branded terrorism as “anti-Islamic activity.” That is: the savagery is not merely unrelated to Islam but becomes, by dint of its being violence, contrary to Islam. This must be so because the British government, like our government, insists Islam is a “religion of peace.”

Now, this is absurd, of course. There are various ways of interpreting Islam, and millions of Muslims manage to “contextualize” Islamic scripture’s numerous commands to conduct holy war, reasoning that these divine injunctions applied only to their historical time and place and are no longer relevant. Yet, even if you buy this line of thinking, that does not make Islam a peaceful belief system. Verses like “Fight those who believe not in Allah,” and “fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war,” are not peaceful injunctions, no matter how one “contextualizes” them.

More to the point, the stubborn reality is: There will always be a large percentage of Muslims who believe these scriptures (and the many others like them) mean exactly what they say.

Our government is in denial of this. Unwilling to deal with Islam as it is, the government must make up an Islam of its very own. Regardless of the abundance of evidence to the contrary, the government holds that Islam is a religion of peace, case closed. (Such a laughable case has to be closed because it cannot withstand even slight examination).

Therefore, to the government, terrorism committed by people who happen to be Muslim is not in any way a reflection of any legitimate interpretation of Islam — even if Islamic supremacist ideology, which endorses jihadist violence, is so mainstream that tens of millions of Muslims adhere to it. Remember, here in America as in Western Europe, the violence is deemed anti-Islamic. That is what has been dictated to our law-enforcement agents by their superiors. If those were your instructions, you’d be babbling like a moron, too.

So, what are the policy implications of the government’s constructing its own fantasy Islam, the one and only principle of which is pacifism? Here are a few of the worst.

It means that Islamic doctrine can never be cited as the cause of terrorism. This leads, for example, to the preposterous government handwringingover “radicalization”: You are apparently supposed to believe young people, all of whom just happen to be Muslim, spontaneously become violent radicals — as if there were no doctrine or body of thought that was inducing the radicalization. You are only to say they have been “radicalized” — never mention by what.

Fantasy Islam also leads inexorably to the irrational decree that terrorist organizations like ISIS and al Qaeda are not Islamic. You are to conclude that they are either wanton killers or that they have “hijacked” and “perverted” Islam into something that it is not — something that cannot be dignified with the name “Islam” because Islam, after all, is a religion of peace.

The most ludicrous fallout of this line of thinking is the one Rudy rightly labels moronic: The apparent inability of government officials to call a mass-murder attack by Muslims a terrorist attack. But again, if you follow the government’s official party line, you understand the reluctance of these officials: The only terrorists the government acknowledges as terrorists are formally designated terrorist groups — ISIS, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah. As we’ve seen, the government has pronounced these groups to be anti-Islamic.

Thus, if the police come upon a mass-murder attack that is clearly instigated by Islamic doctrine, they are not permitted to conclude that it is terrorism because they’ve been directed to maintain that Islam is against terrorism. Consequently, the agents believe they cannot call terrorism terrorism unless and until they uncover evidence proving that the Muslim mass-murderers have some tie to a designated “non-Islamic” terrorist group, such as ISIS or al-Qaeda.

It is rare for such evidence to be uncovered early in an investigation. And the fact of the matter is, such evidence will often never be uncovered because it doesn’t exist. It will frequently turn out that the Muslims who’ve committed the atrocity have been “radicalized” by Islamic doctrine, straightforwardly interpreted as Islamic supremacism by their fellow Islamists at the local mosque and Islamic center. They don’t need mediation, help, or instruction from ISIS or al Qaeda. They already share the same ideology as these groups, the goal of imposing Allah’s law (sharia). All they really need in order to execute terrorist attacks is paramilitary training. That is readily available in many Muslim communities; you don’t need to go to an al-Qaeda or ISIS training camp to get it.

Notice that there is a treacherous flipside to our government’s insistence on making up its own content-free, obsessively peaceful Islam. Not only can terrorism never be associated with it. Anyone who is publicly associated with Islam by the government must be deemed peaceful. This is how we fall into the trap of allowing the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Islamic supremacist organization, to infiltrate the policy-making organs of counterterrorism.

The government, particularly under the control of President Obama, acknowledges the Brotherhood as an Islamic organization — notwithstanding the ham-handed attempt by the intelligence community a few years back to rebrand the Brotherhood as “largely secular.” Under the government’s imaginary Islam, acknowledging a group as Islamic perforce gives them a clean bill of health: They are deemed “peaceful,” “moderate,” and steadfastly opposed to terrorism.

And never you mind that Hamas is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, that the Brotherhood has a long history of terrorist violence, and that major Brotherhood figures have gone on to play leading roles in terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. The beautiful thing about making up an Islam of their very own is that government officials never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

And that’s why they won’t say the terrorist attack in San Bernardino is the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

***

The Fantasy Islam of Reza Aslan

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Frontpage, by Dr. Stephen M. Kirby, Oct. 27, 2015:

Fantasy Islam: A game in which an audience of non-Muslims wish with all their hearts that Islam was a “Religion of Peace,” and a Muslim strives to fulfill that wish by presenting a personal version of Islam that has little foundation in Islamic Doctrine.

As I have mentioned before, “Fantasy Islam” is a popular game among many non-Muslims and so-called “moderate” or “reformist” Muslims.  Reza Aslan appears to be such a Muslim.

Reza Aslan was born in Iran.  In 1979, at the age of seven, he and his family fled the Iranian Revolution and came to the United States.  At the age of 15 he converted to evangelical Christianity, but later returned to Islam.  His website states that he is “an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions.”  He is currently a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.

In 2005 Aslan wrote a book titled No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. The updated edition came out in 2011.  This article addresses that updated edition.

It should be noted that in his book Aslan listed The Life of Muhammad and the multi-volume work The History of al-Tabari, as among the books he “consulted.”  These are classical works by Muslim scholars and major sources for information about Muhammad and Islam.  Aslan even specifically mentions them as among those that have “catalogued” the story of Islam (p. xxiv).  Unfortunately, although Aslan claims that he “consulted” them, we will see that he apparently overlooked conflicting information in these works in favor of playing Fantasy Islam.

Death Penalty for Apostasy is “Un-Quranic”

On p. 121 Aslan stated that the death penalty for apostasy was “un-Quranic,” and he stated that nowhere in the Koran “is any earthly punishment prescribed for apostasy.”

The only problem for Aslan is that in 4:89 of the Koran Allah commands Muslims to take hold of those apostates who have left Islam and “kill them wherever you find them.”  So the death penalty for apostasy from Islam is in the Koran.

In addition, Muhammad said that death was the penalty for a Muslim who left Islam (e.g. Sahih Al-Bukhari, Nos. 6878 and 6923; and Sahih Muslim, No. 1676).  And Muhammad even specified the nature of that death:

If someone changes his religion – then strike off his head!

Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas, 36.18.15, in a section titled “Judgement on Abandonment of Islam.”

No Foundation in the Koran for Stoning

On p. 71 Aslan wrote about the “misogynistic tendencies” of Umar, the second Caliph, and how Umar

instituted a series of severe penal ordinances aimed primarily at women.  Chief among these was the stoning to death of adulterers, a punishment which has absolutely no foundation whatsoever in the Quran but which Umar justified by claiming it had originally been part of the Revelation and had somehow been left out of the authorized text.  Of course, Umar never explained how it was possible for a verse such as this “accidentally” to have been left out of the Divine Revelation of God[.]

It is a common play in Fantasy Islam to claim that stoning is not a part of Islam because it is not in the Koran, so let’s take a look at this claim.

In the first place, it is correct to state that the Koran says nothing about stoning.  The original punishment for adultery in the Koran (4:15) focused on women and confining them to their houses until they died; but there was a key provision at the end of this verse: “or Allah ordains for them some (other) way.”

Muhammad later received a “revelation” from Allah explaining that “other way”:

‘Ubada b. As-Samit reported: Allah’s Messenger (SAW) saying: Receive (teaching) from me, receive (teaching) from me.  Allah has ordained a way for those (women).  When an unmarried male commits adultery with an unmarried female (they should receive) one hundred lashes and banishment for one year.  And in case of married male committing adultery with a married female, they shall receive one hundred lashes and be stoned to death.

Sahih Muslim, No. 1690

So now, instead of confinement, the punishment for adultery would be lashing and stoning.  The punishment of lashing was codified in 24:2 of the Koran.  Muhammad considered stoning as the appropriate penalty for adultery up to his death.  He ordered many an adulterer to be stoned, as did his successors.

Umar did make the claim that the Verse of Stoning had been left out when the Koran was compiled (e.g.Sahih Al-Bukhari, No. 6830).  But when the Koran was being compiled Umar had tried to get it included.  However, the standard for including a “revelation” as a verse was that it had to be certified by two witnesses, and there appeared to be only one witness: Umar.

But in reality there was a second witness, Muhammad’s favorite wife Aisha:

It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow.  When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.”

Sunan Ibn Majah, No. 1944

Even though on p. 70 Aslan had written that “nearly one sixth of all ‘reliable’ hadith can be traced back to Muhammad’s wife Aisha,” the idea of using her as a witness apparently came up against 2:282 of the Koran.  This verse requires the testimony of two women in order to equal that of one man in property matters.  So even though both Umar and Aisha claimed there had been a stoning verse “revealed,” we would still only have at best one and one-half witnesses, therefore falling short of the two witnesses required to include a verse in the Koran.  It would appear that this is why there is no Verse of Stoning in the Koran.  Nevertheless, it is still a part of Islam:

Now the punishment of adultery has been fixed, which is stoning to death.  That punishment also remained in force during the times of the Rightly-Guided caliphs (successors of the Messenger of Allah) and that remained the unanimous opinion of all the jurists and scholars afterwards…The law that prescribes stoning the adultery [sic] to death is supported by authentic hadeeths, and their narrators are numerous, and hence, scholars grade those hadeeths as mutawatir [frequently reported].  A Muslim has, therefore, no choice except to acknowledge and accept it.

Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 3, p. 665

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